Night Sky Constellations talk by Dr. Burns

We had our hopes  up for  star constellation viewing  Friday night at the Stratford Museum with the Stratford Astronomy Group (SAG) and their telescopes.

The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield is the latest Tales & Trails story to be featured on the Heritage Trails at the Stratford Museum.

ZWSO SeeStar S50 and tablet on display outdoors

Before the party began, SAG had on display outdoors its recently acquired ZWO Seestar S50 telescope.  A small but powerful telescope, we will be sure to bring it out again at future star parties. Using it, deep sky objects can be viewed and displayed on linked phones and Ipad tablets.

Even with cloudy conditions, the party attracted an audience of 30 plus listeners happy to be enthralled by three SAG presenters of the night sky.

Dr. Michael Burns began the talks with a discussion on  Constellations that make up the night sky. Engaging the audience with “story” is how Dr. Burns views the constellations. Throughout history, names and mythical stories have been attributed to the star patterns.

The stars are grouped in patterns referred to as constellations. To the ancient Greeks and Romans, the stories depicted in their constellations are of heroes and beasts who received a place among the stars as tribute for their deeds on Earth.  They tell stories of the Herdsman tending his flock,  stories of the Hunt, and stories of rescue and amazement. The International Astronomical Union lists 88 constellations—48 of which were recorded by Greek astronomer Claudius Ptolemy during the 2nd century.

European astronomers in the 17th and 18th centuries also contributed to the names used today for the constellations.

Dr. Burns encouraged his audience to create their own stories when viewing the constellations. He also mentioned that a “once in a lifetime” event would occur soon to see a star go NOVA. For more details, click HERE.

Next up to the podium was Doug Fyfe. Trained in astronomy, Fyfe’s subject was Astronomy 101. Full of facts related to the solar system, planets, comets and asteroids, Fyfe engaged  his audience as he talked about the sun and the planets and galaxies seen through observational astronomy. He talked about light and the electromagnetic spectrum from low to high frequency.

Patrick Hayes talks of Earth and Sun Interactions

The last talk was delivered by Patrick Hayes. A retired chemist, his story was on the interactions between the Earth and the Sun.

The Stratford Museum’s Megan Patterson was happy with the evening and on behalf of the museum gave a donation of $240 to SAG. See the thank you letter here.

Tom Kimber – New




A Budget Friendly Entry into Astrophotography

Photographing deep sky objects (DSOs) as well as solar viewing  is now possible with a budget-friendly smart telescope.

ZWO makes the seeStar S50, selling for under $700 CAD. This is the smart telescope Mike Burns recommended at the February Club meeting.

 It uses the Sony IMX462 CMOS sensor which has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (2 MP). The Seestar has an aperture of 50mm (1.97 in), a focal length of 250mm, and a focal ratio of f/5. It has built-in Bluetooth and WiFi, a battery life of approximately 6 hours.

The mount on the S50 is an altitude azimuth mount and not an EQ mount, so 10 seconds exposure works best. This mount features the ability to find and track any object in the night sky plus the Sun. Once you select the object you wish to capture, the mount will automatically point to it and keep it centered for the exposure astrophotography.

The Seestar S50 is not equipped to capture detailed images of planets, but you’ll be able to see craters on the Moon and detailed sunspots on the Sun.

Clicking this link provides great details on this smart telescope.

And, for a deeper dive into the Seestar S50 and how to use for viewing DSOs, see this youtube vide0

Tom Kimber – News

The Fermi Paradox And Us

Are we alone in the universe? What is the possibility that intelligent life exists on one of the many planets orbiting the billions of stars in the Milky Way galaxy? Or the billions of stars in the billions of galaxies in the universe?

Wow, put that way, the glass seems half full. Surely, conscience, intelligent life is out there, somewhere. Then, there is the Fermi Paradox named after Enrico Fermi. He was an Italian physicist who, in the 1950s, posed the question, “Where is everybody”, referring to aliens from space?

Physicist Brian Cox tackles this question in a YouTube video which SAG member Bill Thompson suggests is worth viewing. You can view it HERE

Do You Want to Know?

The night sky is our viewing window to the heavens. Do you want to know the moon phases that you will see from the Stratford area by looking up? Or the planets visible this month with a telescope? Or where and when to spot the Space Station (aka ISS) with the naked eye? Links to great resources can be found under Club News. When on the HOME page, go to the MENU column on the right-hand side of the page, and select Club News.

Tom Kimber – News


Stratford’s Connection with Moon Exploration

A Lunar Rover and Stratford


Stratford is home to the lunar rover protoptyping facility of Canadensys Areospace. This is Canada’s first lunar rover. Read this incredible story by journalist Connor Luczka Here

As well, a story published by CBC providing more information on Canada’s involvement with future lunar exploration can be read Here

For a video insight into the Stratford prototyping facility, click Here

New Home for Club Equipment

THANK YOU, Paul Bartlett.

Paul has agreed to act as Club  Equipment Manager and store all club telescope equipment at his home in Stratford. Club members are welcome to borrow equipment to try out. Pick it up from Paul and return to Paul’s location.

Paul’s email is:

Click HERE to view a list of club equipment available.


Paul can be reached at this phone number: 519-274-2010


Also thanks to Terry Hastings for his  many yearsserved as Club Equipment Manager.